“We act as though comfort and luxury
were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need
to make us happy is something to be enthusiastic about.”
Brokelyn is a webmag devoted to living the best possible life in Brooklyn regardless of one’s means. It was founded in 2009 as a post-crash survival guide by Faye Penn, a writer and editor for magazines and newspapers including New York Magazine, The New York Post, InStyle and Marie Claire, among others. Since then, Brokelyn has evolved into a general interest news destination whose irreverent mix of news and humor have made it the second most popular site in Brooklyn, following Brownstoner. (We try harder!) We also run apartment and event listings, host events and publish the wildly popular Brokelyn Beer Books. Find out how to advertise on Brokelyn here.
Brokelyn’s “angel investor” was a New York City cab driver named Susan who passed away in 2008. She was a scrapper and a news junkie whose cantankerous wit enlivened the letters pages of every newspaper in town. She was also a generous person with unique ideas about friendship. Thanks, Susan. We hope they have Wifi wherever you are.
Meet Team Brokelyn
From: Long Beach, NY. It’s ah, a long beach
Cheap BK activity: Eating free wings on Mondays at the Brazen Head. Listening to arguments drift in through my window. Also the Sol and tequila special at The Narrows has been known to cause feelings of invincibility. At least, it does for me.
When not Brokelyning, I get drunk and tweet things about the Mets and hockey, publish a literary magazine called stretch, and endlessly complicate my life.
Cheapest secret, one splurge: Writing for Brokelyn means free breakfasts on Thursdays. It’s not a secret anymore, but have you seen our guide to bars with free food? You’ll never grocery shop again. Splurge: Metrocards. I don’t care if it is public transportation, the subway is for rich people.
From: Beachwood, NJ. Please don’t call it the Jersey Shore.
Cheap BK Activity: The Rev. Vince Anderson’s weekly free show at Union Pool; terrifying levels of Simpler Times consumption.
When not Brokelyning, I… Write freelance stories for Inc. Magazine, the NY Post and anyone else who will have me; lounge about coffee shops.
Cheapest secret, one splurge: I graduated college years ago. Turns out, my college ID doesn’t have an expiration date, and therefore neither does my student discount eligibility. I’m not cheap about: buying a beer for friends in need, because I’ve been there before, and will be there again.
Faye Penn: Founder
Twitter • Email: firstname.lastname@example.org • Phone: 917-670-8058
From: Framingham, MA., an utterly unrivaled mall town.
Cheap BK Activity: Riding back and forth on the Ikea ferry with contraband; walking around Ditmas Park pretending I’m in the Catskills.
When not Brokelyning, I… Work as Executive Editor of The New York Observer. Hang out with Papa Brokelyn and our three kids.
Cheapest secret, one splurge: Cheapest secret: $8 eyebrow threading at Raheela’s Coney Island Avenue. Also, buying coffee beans at TJ Maxx. There’s way more than one splurge, but I’m going with highlights by Borja Cau. She’s a genius.
Cheap BK activity: Wandering around taking pictures of old buildings, alleyways, street art and the random bizarre, beautiful and interesting people and things on the streets of Brooklyn.
When not Brokelyning, I… can be found in the local coffice working on the great American novel of our time (right next to the guy who just typed the exact same thing). And occasionally lawyering.
Cheapest secret, one splurge: I cut and color my own hair (I’m pretty sure I missed my calling as a sassy hairdresser with badass sleeve tattoos who’s also a jammer for Gotham Girls Roller Derby). I spend way more than my monthly “expendable income” on concert tickets (when I can’t score free entry via Twitter-stalking).
From: Hibbing, MN via Seattle
Cheap BK Activity: Rolling out of bed and working from my fire escape in my jammies: no pricey commutes, $2 cups of joe, makeup or even clothes needed. Also, strolling markets and antique furniture stores and planning my “someday” purchases. Saves time, and time=money!
When not Brokelyning, I… Searching for my soul-mutt on Petfinder, tweeting and Facebooking for nonprofits, getting crafty with maps, writing nonsense and some-sense stories.
Cheapest secret, one splurge: Eyeglasses from Warby Parker! they have a buy one, give one program that makes you feel like Bill Gates, i.e. rich. Splurge: A good cup of coffee and a nice glass of beer. Money can’t buy you happiness until you have a $4 pint.
From: Annapolis, Md.
Cheap BK Activity: Biking down to Fort Tilden Beach and enjoying the free sun and surf.
When not Brokelyning, I…work in an office, as my pale complexion belies. I also co-edit a literary quarterly and complain loudly about hipsters to anyone who will listen.
Cheapest secret, one splurge: Secret: People will just hand you money on the street if you threaten them. Splurge: Books and notebooks of any kind. And handguns.
From: New Orleans, La.
Cheap Brooklyn activity: Going swimming after-hours in the playground fountains with my dog.
When not Brokelyning, I…: Try to go to the beach every weekend in the summer, hang with my dog, seek out seafood and soccer matches.
Cheapest secret, one splurge: Making cut-offs at home, buying overalls at thrift stores; splurge: cold-brew iced coffee.
From: New York, NY (concrete jungle where dreams are made of, etc.)
Cheap BK activity: Free dancing nights at Union Hall and the Bell House.
When not Brokelyning, I… : am trying to make the world a better place through government/political work.
Cheapest Secret, one splurge: Used CDs for $1-2 at Housing Works Thrift Shop; vegetarian soul “chicken” at Vegetarian Palate on Flatbush (they’re a good deal, but still more expensive than anything I make at home!).
From: Canarsie (what happens when you fall asleep on the L), then Oceanside, NY (what happens when you fall asleep on the Belt Parkway)
Cheap BK Activity: Bocce at Union Hall. It’s only expensive if you’re a lush. So maybe this isn’t my cheap activity…
When not Brokelyning, I … write humor and sketch comedy, perform improv, host trivia nights, perform bhangra solos at gigantic Indian weddings, frequent K-Town for my karaoke/galbi fix, and recreate the last meal requests of Death Row prisoners. Currently trying to turn my backyard into a garden/outdoor theater.
Cheapest Secret, One Splurge: If you want to enhance your free Brooklyn Bridge Park movie with a pizza from Grimaldi’s, call and order for pickup and bypass the perennially long line. Give up alcohol in the month of February: No major holidays, and it’s still cold, so you have an excuse to stay in more. You’ll lose weight, get smarter, and save tons of money (true story). Splurge: Maker’s Mark. Also, anything that’s guaranteed FUN.
Cheap BK activity: Free/cheap fun: parks, promenades, picnics, concerts, open bars and most of all free samples. Best overall activity is combining all of the aforementioned and making a day of it at Governor’s Island, my favorite place in the 5 boroughs.
When Not Brokelyning, I: Work in editorial for Condé Nast’s special editions, watch captivating nature shows on Nat Geo, add to my list of books I should probably read, scour Craigslist’s “Free” section for the next great find of the century, wait impatiently for next year’s Shark Week, laugh at awkward people and occasionally at myself.
Cheapest secret, one splurge: This probably isn’t a secret but VO5 shampoo costs 78 cents. 78 cents!! Also, C-Town is unbelievably awesomely cheap when it has sales that it never ceases to amaze me. Splurge: Malbec and great steak. Noms!
From: Rockland County, NY – it’s not upstate
Cheap BK activity: $5 beer-and-shot combos at in the champagne room at Sweet Revenge (or One Last Shag, if you must). In the broker of times, stoop sitting will suffice.
When not Brokelyning: I’m always Brokelyning; it’s both a state of mind and a perpetual state of pocket. I guess I’m finishing up undergrad at Brooklyn College, too.
Cheapest secret, one splurge: Being part of PHRESH CUTZ, a team of queer barbers who give haircuts on the cheap at our monthly parties. Splurge: expensive hair product to make those haircuts look salon-fancy
From: Bloomsburg, PA, just 15 miles from the ghost town of Centralia.
Cheap BK Activity: Basking in Ira Glass’s glory at The Talent Show. Also, The Bushwick Book Club.
When not Brokelyning, I … work in digital at Penguin Books, volunteer for things like 826NYC, and go to every free lecture with “sexuality” in the title.
Cheapest secret, one splurge: Secret: Asking for discounts at retail stores for merch that’s defective but salvageable. Splurge: A gym with a pool and towel service.
From: Manhattan, by way of Central PA and London
Cheap BK Activity: I’m a sucker for second-hand and vintage clothing stores (see below).
When not Brokelyning, I… am a regular at the Park Slope Beacon’s Closet, particularly in the boot department. (Seriously. I get embarrassed walking in now). Scoping out vegan food in Brooklyn, taking photos, freelance photo editing, trolling Craigslist for dream apartments and chuckling over missed connections; and attending/shooting lots of concerts.
Cheapest secret, one splurge: My cheap secret? Being a lightweight and only requiring one or two drinks for the evening. My splurge is most definitely the flat whites at Milk Bar Brooklyn. Worth every sip!
From: Toronto, Canada
Cheap Brooklyn activity: Outdoor flicks and cheap Kelso ale at Habana Outpost
When not Brokelyning, I… can be seen acting in shows that other people wrote, or in jazz bars writing my own, or at home making humus.
Cheapest secret, one splurge: Other people’s Moving Day is when I assemble my wardrobe for the season. KURBALURT! Splurge: tickets for shows at BAM.